Monday, 15 September 2014

Belle and Sebastian: Existing TV Clips 1995-2014



Welcome to the second in a planned series of discussions of all the surviving TV footage we can find of each and every AAA band - written partly to bulk out the planned AAA books we should have accruing somewhere around 2017. Belle and Sebastian are an interesting problem for this article given that they're a comparatively modern band by our standards and have had about 20 years less than most of our bands to record anything. Belle and Sebastian are also notoriously camera shy, so there aren't anything like as many concerts/interviews/tv appearances as there are for most other AAA groups. On the plus side, as a product of first the MTV and then the Youtube era there are lot more music videos than average (some of them even include the band!) and thankfully given that the first release comes some two decades after companies decided to recklessly start destroying old video tapes, pretty much everything the band ever did exists...somewhere. Naturally covering such a wide amount of material means there might be something important we either haven't come across or forgotten about - if that's true and you're feeling smug about owning something we don't know then why not drop us a line and let us know? (note - we're not counting videos of concerts shot by fans but items intended for broadcast somewhere in the world, even if they never actually were).

To date the only place you can find all of these recordings officially is the 'For Fans Only' DVD (2003), although as the band seem to spend half their question and answers page on their official website pointing fans after rare footage in the direction of Youtube it seems only fair to do the same here and hope that B and S release a second 'Fans Only' DVD one day (most of the ones from 2003 are on the official website at www.belleandsebastian.com/video anyway!) For copyright reasons we can't show you the links but have a follow of our Alan's Album Archives page on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/user/AlansArchives) and check out our Belle and Sebastian playlist!

1) I Could Be Dreaming (College Music Video 1995)

The earliest surviving footage of Belle and Sebastian features a ridiculously young group fresh from recording their masterpiece 'Tigermilk'. While no singles were taken from the album and the album initially only had a limited 5000 copy run, the band were studying encouraged by their student record label Electric Honey to do things 'properly' hand have a bash at making a promo for it. This is the result - a simple, straightforward video with an almost bequiffed Stuart Murdoch miming to his vocal while the rest of the band play nervously along, often on the wrong instruments (Sarah is on keyboards, for instance). Murdoch soon gets bored and is already subverting the normal way of going about things by getting a puppet of a fox dressed as a super hero to mime the words from the second verse on, while he nods alongside (Stuart always had a thing for foxes and crop up in many of his songs). The video was most likely shot by Isobel (although not credited here, unlike the next video, it's very similar, full of arty shots of test-tubes and the like) and is notable for two things - how young the band all seem (especially Stuart) and how bouncy Stuart is, dancing like a madman across the stage (a trademark of later B and S shows, but surprising given how soon the sessions come after his seven years with me/cfs - perhaps he's just pleased to have some spare energy again?!) The video - or most of it anyway - was included on the 'For Fans Only' DVD (2003), although sadly that version fades the song early. 

2) Dylan In The Movies (College Music Video 1996)

The 'For Fans Only' DVDF lists this as the first film footage of B and S, but surely that's wrong? The song is younger and the band look older, albeit still terrifically young. I also quibble with the dating of '1998' (surely its 1996 when the song came out and by which time B and S had already made at least three promos), although the credit to 'Strathclyde University' is probably accurate for the backdrop. Isobel is given the credit for this video which features lots of lingering shots of dogs (she's clearly getting practice for the 'Dog On Wheels' promo to come!) and the band looking as if they are rehearsing properly this time. Alas the only footage to have survived to date is the fragment included in the 'For Fans Only' DVD, which replaces the original sound with the record and quickly segues into later performances of the song (at least one of which seems to be the 'Later...with Jools Holland show' mentioned later).

3) Dog On Wheels (Unknown Live c.1997)

Included in the 'extras' section of the 'For Fans Only' DVD, there's sadly no mention of where this great live version of an early band favourite comes from. Murdoch still has his longer-than-normal haircut and seems a very edgy performer so it's likely that this video is earlier rather than later, so we've plumped for it in the list around here. Stuart gets two of his lyrics round the wrong way ('Promise me you'll always be around when I call and when I fall') and the backing is best described as shambolic, but the song already sounds like a good one and the band like one to watch.

4) Dog On Wheels (Music Video 1997)

Picked as the first 'proper' video on the 'For Fans Only' DVD, this can be seen as the first 'professional' B and S video clip. Stuart's brought the same fox featured in 'Dreaming' out on location with him as he wandered around location on Glasgow, 'searching' for a toy dog on wheels to buy by the end of the clip. This video was shot by Karn David, the girlfriend of bassist Stuart David who became an 'honorary' member of his spin-off band 'Looper' (she's the one referenced in the first album 'Up A Tree's sleevenotes as randomly picking Stuart's name out of her university friend's address book and starting up a correspondence that results in marriage). According to Jeepster's Youtube account this video cost a whole £54 in costs to make and yet looks like it cost a lot more (that's an awful lot of cups of tea for cast and crew, although costs are cut down by only having Stuart - and the title character - appear!) I hear our very own AAA mascot Max The Singing Dog is auditioning to appear in the next B and S video...

5) A Century Of Fakers (Music Video 1997)

One of the loveliest of all of B and S' songs, the band typically deliver their daftest video yet to accompany what's actually a very earnest and serious song about the 20th century being full of 'fakers'. Isobel appears on a video for the first time to 'helpfully' interpret the lyrics into 'sign language' for us. Goodness knows who most of the other people in the video are though - most of them seem to be random passers by on a hot Summer's day in Glasgow in 1997, although some of the band do 'cameo' Hitch-cock style (that's Chris Geddes hiding behind the crates being moved in the middle of the song and eventually the whole band in the queue outside the 'Half Bar' pub - which seem to specialise in deliveries of guitars given the goods that disappear into the shop! Note, too, Sarah Martin's distinctive taste in head-gear while waiting in the queue!) In case you hadn't already guessed, this video was also included in the 'For Fans Only' DVD and is the only B and S music promo directed by Stuart Murdoch to date.

6) Lazy Line Painter Jane (Music Video 1997)

My personal favourite of all the B and S music videos, this is a terrific video to accompany a terrific song. Stuart Murdoch's original is a gloomy doomy song about guilt and abortions, but the video is closer to a comic-strip, with a young girl played by Karla Black causing havoc Minnie The Minx style, to every passer by she passes (all of whom just happen to be members of Belle and Sebastian). All these incidents involve 'lines' of some description: They are, in turn, Stevie Jackson (busy painting yellow line in the road), Chris Geddes (waiting for a bus before Painter Jane pulls off part of his T-shirt), Stuart Murdoch (who is innocently walking past a hole in a wall when Jane decides to spray some graffiti on it; his 'grr' reaction is the single best moment on the DVD!), Richard Colburn (hanging out his washing in the exact place he would have used in real life, before Jane steals his washing line!), Stuart David (who reads until falling asleep in the road - Jane draws a line around him 'police investigation' style!) and Isobel Campbell (busy reading a book on a park bench until Jane 'pulls' the words off the book!)Better still are the inter-spliced shots of the band genuinely recording the song in Glasgow's Hyland Parish Church where they used to practice (and above which Stuart Murdoch and Richard Colburn were living at the time), with guest vocalist Monica Queen part of the band. This video was also shot by Karn David and features all the haunts the band must have known well whilst going to rehearsals in the church.

7) Dirty Dream #9 (Music Video 1998)

An unusual song to be given a video, this first of three songs from the 'Boy With The Arab Strap' album is against all odds the first to not actually feature the band much. Perhaps not co-incidentally, it's also one of the weakest with shots of lots of models doing strange things and posing in strange places, although perhaps thankfully none of them re-enact what's actually going on in the song's rather risque lyrics! Oddly enough it's the first B and S music video directed by someone who had practice at this sort of thing - director Lance Bangs, who started his career in 1993 making videos for the likes of Moby and Sonic Youth. Another song included on the 'For Fans Only' DVD.

8) Is It Wicked Not To Care? (Music Video 1998)

Isobel's turn in the spotlight features the band having a picnic (presumably it's an outtake from this video that was used on the 'Arab Strap' cover - the DVD contains many outtakes from this video which are actually more entertaining than the clip itself!) The video (directed by Sarah) is shot artfully in monochrome and starts with a  quote from Jacque Cocteau ('What uniform can I wear to hide my heavy heart?') which seems rather at odds with what should be a fun song. Much more fitting are the shots of Isobel trying to read out C S Lewis' 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' to a bemused looking toy lion!

9) The Wrong Girl (Music Video 1998)

A third video from 'Arab Strap' stars Stevie Jackson and switches locations between Glasgow Hospital, Queen's College, a Glaswegian record shop (Stevie checks out a copy of Bob Dylan's 'Blonde On Blonde'). Trafalgar Square and a suitably cold looking beach. Jackson drifts through the video with a series of catastrophes captioned with increasingly frustrated captions ('Why Me????') Finally happiness is restored at the end of the video when Stevie spies his true love...a guitar!!! Apparently the Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake (then the second biggest act signed to B and S' record label Jeepster) is in there too. B and S clearly spent more time on this video than most and the captions and dead-pan looks on Stevie's face are hilarious, but somehow this video seems a lot more rushed than the others. The directors were Stevie and Lance Bangs, which might explain why this video has such a mixture of scale and smallness. It was, you guessed it, included on the 'For Fans Only' DVD, although its rather out of place coming between 'Legal Man' (2000) and 'Wandering Alone' (2002).

10) This Is Just A Modern Rock Song (Music Video 1998)

The first of what I consider the 'mainstream' B and S recordings is much more than just another music video; the second to be shot by Sarah and the first to be made up of loosely cut video footage without a narrative. This is famously the song that breaks the fourth wall and speaks about the band ('Stevie's full of good intentions, Richard's into rock and roll, Stuart's staying in and he thinks it's a sin that he has to leave the house at all'). However the band aren't in the video at all, it's Glasgow that's the 'star' of this video though and is shown in all its greying fading glory: trains arrive in barren grassland, passers by play Scrabble in the road-side (as if there's nothing better to do), people get lost and ask for directions and a graveyard is shown, mysteriously without any Sukis in it. The result is atmospheric, but a little dull (much like the song in fact, which by B and S standards is long and slow). And yes, before you ask, it is indeed included on 'For Fans Only'.

11) 'The Black Sessions' (1998)

This fascinating 12-song concert was recorded for a French radio station named 'France Inter' that featured a programme titled 'The Black Sessions' (it's a French thing, apparently, a pun on their creator Bernard Lenoir's name which didn't really survive translation). B and S are in great form and feature a nice mix of old favourites and new songs that weren't often performed. The full track selection is as follows: The Boy Done Wrong Again/Dog On Wheels/Seeing Other People/I Know Where The Summer Goes/A Century Of Fakers/Mayfly/The Wrong Girl/Dirty Dream #2/Poupee De Cire Poupee De Son/Slow Graffiti/I Don't Love Anyone/Sleep The Clock Around. There are two songs you might not know: 'Paper Boat' (an otherwise unreleased B and S song by Stuart David) and 'Poupee De Cire', which is an Isobel-sung cover of a Serge Gainsbourg song that's exclusive to this set, although it's actually the only performance here to secure an official release as part of the 'Fans Only' DVD (both will be covered in our 'unreleased tracks' article). Personally I'd have gone for the cracking performance of 'Dirty Dream', the elongated jam at the end of 'Sleep The Clock Around' and the gorgeous rendering of 'The Boy Done Wrong Again' but at least they're available on Youtube to savour. Along the way Stuart Murdoch interrupts 'A Century Of Fakers' to tell the crowd this is their 'chance to say hello to your mum' and Stevie tries to announce 'The Wrong Girl' in French but only gets as far as 'la femme...err...wrong!' As pretty much our last chance to see the original line-up of Belle and Sebastian working together and having fun, this concert is hard to beat with perhaps the finest single setlist of the small handful of B and S concerts available legally and illegally.

12) Bowlie Weekend (1999)

A sign of just how big Belle and Sebastian had become by 1999 was their role as 'hosts' of the second ever 'Bowlie Weekender' festival. This gig took place at the unlikely venue of Pontin's Holiday Camp in Essex and has become legendary in B and S circles, the entry point for many curious fans who booked to go to the festival for fun and only discovered how good the band was later. The show was professionally filmed but only extracts from it have ever been seen: Lazy Line Painter Jane (seen briefly on the 'For Fans Only' DVD), The Boy With The Arab Strap (seen in full on the 'For Fans Only' DVD), a cover of The Who's The Kids Are Alright (seen as one of the extras on 'For Fans Only'), 'Landslide' (an otherwise unreleased Isobel Campbell song with the 'Maisonettes' from 'Legal Man' singing along, available as an extra on the 'For Fans Only' DVD), a cover of Glenn Campbell's 'Rhinestone Cowboy' (an extract is seen in the DVD main feature) and Dog On Wheels (seen on Youtube). The result looks an awful lot of fun and features some unusual songs in the track listing but was perhaps one of those 'you had to be there' moments, with B and S giving a spirited but rather ramshackle performance.

13) Documentary (Unreleased 1999)

We don't know what it is, we don't know why it was made and we don't know what the full gist of it is but we do know that someone somewhere tried to make a documentary of Belle and Sebastian in 1999. Extracts of it appear on the 'For Fans Only' DVD and are highly revealing but frustratingly short. Stuart Murdoch talks about 'not remembering' writing his early songs, 'which is kind of lucky, I guess, because it means I still like a few of them' but gets cut short just before he talks in full about the most important years of the band's life. Otherwise there's some priceless footage of the band rehearsing 'Seeing Other People' in Stuart and Richard's church in 1996, which ought by rights to be treated separately above but seems to have been a 'part of' this untitled documentary long before the 'Fans Only' DVD included it and is seen in extracted form rather than in full.

14) Brit Awards (1999)

A good demonstration of how out of step with the mainstream musical world Belle and Sebastian were is that their biggest competitors for the 1999 Brits newcomers award was Steps, that artificially constructed collection of dancers who could sing, a bit and released their debut album in a media publicity drive that made Michael Jackson look underexposed. By contrast B and S' real debut came in 1995, on a student record label, in a limited edition of 1000 copies. As a result it wasn't until after the release of album three that anyone on the panel of judges considered Belle and Sebastian as eligible for the award of 'newcomer'. The band certainly weren't expecting to win and only two band members turned up (the rest were busy recording the 'Legal Man' LP), leaving a bemused Richard Colburn and Mick Cooke to mischievously tease ignorant music fans everywhere that 'tonight I'm Belle and he's Sebastian'! So sure was everyone that Steps would get the award that there were claims of a 'fix' - and its fair to say that an early use of an internet poll (back in the days when you didn't have to log in to everything all the time and could vote as many times as you wanted, as many passionate Steps-fearing fans did) probably helped. The result, however, was a triumph for music lovers (Steps are the best of a bad bunch from the period, actually, but should have had their own category for 'best pre-teen dance troupe' rather than 'best music newcomer') and makes for priceless footage - especially if you can see the clip in full (on Youtube) and see what a bizarre mixture of music was winning back in 1999. The 'For Fans Only DVD' included an extract of Richard and Mick's acceptance speech as well as a local Scottish news programme interviewing the rest of the band about why they didn't go (Sarah's pleased because her mum would only have 'moaned at me for not wearing the right dress', while Chris was upset when he found out that Richard and Mick were sharing a table with Muhammad Ali!)

15) Legal Man (Music Video 2000)

By 2000 we fans (we should have a name, everyone else has, how about 'Belle-boys'?!) were beginning to wonder what a big budget B and S production might sound like. 'Legal Man' was it (sort of), with a much heavier sound than normal and a much tighter and rockier feel than normal. The video for 'Legal Man' continued the theme, having the band dressed up to the nines and performing in some ancient looking club, while a judge - also seen in a newspaper headline about 'mysterious circumstances' - watches them from afar, wig still attached. Impressively the band hired no less an actor than Gareth 'Blake's 7' Thomas for this role! (Perhaps this is an in-joke, with B and S often referred to as a 'seven-piece' by a press who clearly can't count - their numbers fluctuating between six and 14 depending on how many string players you count! For those who don't know Blake's 7 didn't feature seven people either and included either grumpy computer Orac or sat-nav-with-attitude Zen as part of the numbering, which should really have been either 'Blake's Six' or 'Blake's Eight'). For those who got the 'spoof' nature of the video (which is very much a product of the 'Austin Powers' era) the results are hilarious with Belle and Sebastian 100% the 'wrong' band for the rather staid and proper band seen on stage complete with tuxedos and ball gowns. Isobel is having great fun and actually directed the film, one of the last things she did with the band (she got the giggles often while making it, as you can see in an 'outtakes compilation' seen at the beginning of the video on 'For Fans Only') while Colburn is easily the most natural band member on stage. One odd thing though: where are Sarah and Bobby on this video? (The latter might not have been counted as a full member yet but it seems odd that Sarah isn't there).

16) Legal Man (Top Of The Pops 2000)

For most bands an appearance on Top Of The Pops was the pinnacle of your achievements (or at least it was before the Jimmy Saville scandals!) and if they were lucky enough to get the rights would be displayed proudly for all to see. Belle and Sebastian hide their one and only appearance away as a 'hidden extra' on the 'For Fans Only' DVD, which can be seen only if you let the film run past the end of the credits. The band clearly aren't taking their roles as top 20 superstars (this song peaked at #15, the second highest to date!) too seriously: just check out Stuart's 'Dennis The Menace' T-shirt and Isobel's school uniform, while Stevie gives up miming playing the guitar halfway through and simply jives his way to the end of the song!

17) Press Conference (2001)

Belle and Sebastian only ever held one press conference in their lives, to promote fourth album 'Fold Your Hands, Child, You Walk Like A Peasant'. The idea of B and S holding a press conference about anything seems laughable and the band never tried it again afterwards - they seem to have been treating it as a laugh here anyway. The band are asked simply 'why?' in regards to the back picture of the album with Stuart David as a 'monkey butler', respond 'excuse me?' when asked if they're heading in a more hippie direction and best of all is Richard's ad lib when asked which of the Belle and Sebastian off-shoots (Stuart David' 'Looper' and Isobel's 'The Gentle Waves') is better (how do you mean? In a fight?!) A journalist from the world's greatest music magazine (well, it was at the time when it was edited by Peter Doggett anyway) is told off for being 'too young' and to 'get out of there' before its too late! Extracts from the press conference were wittily re-titled 'Fold Your Notepad, Child, You Walk Like A Journalist' when included as an extra on the 'For Fans Only' DVD!

18) Jonathan David (Music Video 2001)

Another rare example of a 'properly' shot video - or should that be two videos? Stuart Murdoch and Stevie appear dressed up first in 1960s clobber and then 1970s gear despite the fact that  the interior of the house they borrowed for location seems more 1950s to me. Belle and Sebastian, of course, don't go for the obvious story (the title is taken from the bible, of two warriors who were strangers under they bonded together in a war) and instead treat the song as a simple menage a trois. Stuart Murdoch is the lucky one who gets the girl while Stevie pines away in the corner. Wacky as this is, some of the usual magic of a Belle and Sebastian video seems to be missing from this one. Included in the 'For Fans Only' DVD.

19) Later...With Jools Holland (2001)

The band only made one appearance on this long running programme and played three songs: 'I'm Waking Up To Us' 'The Magic Of A Kind Word' and  The first of these is one of the most fascinating clips on this list, this is Isobel in one of her last appearances sitting at Stuart Murdoch's feet while he emotionally sings this nasty song of betrayal and hurt about their relationship. 'We're a disaster' spits Murdoch, desperately trying not to look at his ex as the rest of the band look the most serious I've ever seen Belle and Sebastian (even Murdoch can't look away, however, and glowers at her, right at the end of the solo). Thankfully Jools Holland's moments have been cut so he never gets to spoil the mood or say something hopeless along the lines of 'I really love your new CD...who are you again?' like he usually does. 'The Magic Of A Kind Word' is much calmer all round, although Stuart does appear to turn his back on Isobel as she and Sarah sing the mellow opening lines. This is clearly a band in transition - note that there's no Stuart David and Bobby Kildea is for now, weirdly, covering the guitarwork (mainly so Stuart M and Stevie can dance!), with trumpeter Mick Cooke doing a good job covering on bass. For once, only the first of these two songs appears on the 'For Fans Only' DVD.

20) Programmo Do Jo (2002)

This rare example of Belle and Sebastian appearing on a foreign TV show is true car crash television. The host Jo Soares, speaking in clipped English, has clearly never heard of the band before and is astonished at the amount of flute, string and trumpet players in the band. He asks some weird questions too (I've never heard a band asked who was the best cook before - its Chris by the way and seems to think the whole band are teenagers, asking if they're mothers know they're in Brazil - for the record most of them are early and mid 30s by now), not helped by the fact that he's asking lots of questions about the vocals to the member sat next to him, who just happens to be non-singing drummer Richard Colburn. Highlights include Stevie trying to sing a song he's just been handed in Portugese (with Stuart's help) and a spirited performance of 'Wandering Alone' from 'Storytelling' with almost all the audience clapping along with the distinctive riff. Isobel has only just left the band at this stage but everyone seems remarkably upbeat. Almost the entire clip can be seen on the 'For Fans Only' DVD.

21) Coachella Festival (2002) 

Another well received B and S festival appearance and another starting point for many fans who'd never heard the band before going. Many fans filmed the gig - Youtube is full of footage shot that night - but only two 'professionally shot' clips have made it into the public domain to date: a spirited 'Boy With The Arab Strap' and a one-off cover of The Beach Boys' Darlin' where big 1960s music fan Stevie talks about having to 'cover one of Carl Wilson's best vocals on 'Darlin' and gets visibly nervous before Stuart's dancing means the performance will never get taken seriously anyway! Both are included in the 'For Fans Only' DVD, the former as part of the main film and the latter as one of the 'extras'.

22) Glastonbury (2002)

Not being a big fan of mud, loo-queuing or noisy shrieky unknown punk bands who damn you to hell while you're trying to eat a  breakfast, I've never actually been to Glastonbury. I do feel a kind of camaraderie of spirit, however, because back in the days before digital TV and set-top boxes that could record programmes Glasto used to mean an annual event of staying up late and sitting through five hours of torturous coverage for a decent 5 minutes that was usually faded out under the end credits anyway. I did this for Belle and Sebastian in 2002 and am the proud owner of a much chewed video tape featuring 'The Boy With The Arab Strap' and 'Wandering Alone', complete with a field of people clapping along to the distinctive rhythm. The band also played 'The State I Am IN' that night, which sadly didn't make the coverage at the time but was the only song from this set to feature in the 'For Fans Only' DVD which, sniff, makes a last appearance in this list! Despite being without Isobel and Stuart David for more or less the first time in public the band do well. More interesting, though, is the comments around it: The late John Peel, who so often had his finger on the pulse of interesting music, is surprised at how good Belle and Sebastian were and unusually ashamed that he's been avoiding her music for so long; Lauren Laverne, meanwhile, is her usual dismissive self (in all her many years of Glasto coverage has she actually found a band she likes yet? She always seemed to me like she was in the wrong job...)

23) Weapons Of Mass Distraction (2003)

The title of this short lived embarassing-chat-with-comedy-and-some-music-that's-always-faded-early-because-of-some-inane-nonsense programme rather gives the era away: yes this is post-9/11, self-aware edginess starring Craig Charles from Red Dwarf/Robot Wars who frankly is too good for this sort of thing. B and S are plugging their 'Dear Catastrophe' album and perform two rather rough and ready versions of two singles from that album 'Wrapped Up In Books' and 'I'm A Cuckoo'. The most interesting feature of both is that Stuart M shuns his guitar and prowls around the stage like a madman during that last choice. To date these clips have never been made available commercially and at the time of writing aren't even on Youtube (I'm willing to post them if someone can tell me how the heck I'm meant to do it!) Don't worry though, you're not missing much.

24) Step Into My Office Baby (Music Video 2003)

The first music video from 'Waitress' is a fun romp through what a carry on film set in an office might have been like (you know the sort of thing, 'ooh do you think my files look big in this? Oh and is your photocopier spare? Sid James cackle etc). Some of these are hilarious - the moment when secretary and office worker get together is interrupted by spoof pictures of 'what's going on' seen in really bad sex education films: a rocket taking off, a tower being erected, bees in flowers, etc. However the band turn the implied sexism of this on its head: its the male office worker the staff are taking advantage of and he has to satisfy them all - even the OAP canteen lady! Drummer Richard, in a bad wig, takes his first starring role in a B and S video and does a great job (his wordless 'phew' as he comes to the end of his 'work' is priceless!), while the rest of the band cameo as guests at a rather drab looking 1950s party. Available from B and S' official website.

25) I'm A Cuckoo (Music Video 2003)

This video is largely a return to the scenes of earlier B and S videos and features the band hanging around Glasgow. For me, though, it speaks volumes that while the band haven't moved down to London like everyone else, they're now in the busy town centre rather than the quieter more rural parts of town. Stuart stars in this one as a runner on a strict training regime, while things fall apart: his girlfriend is more interested in a magazine entitled 'Ted Of The Month' (I want one!) Somehow, though, the video never quite goes anywhere - it simply 'ends' and the cursory shots of the other members (as 'Belle and Sebastian' rather than in cameos) is more shoe-horned in than normal. Not one of the band's better videos. Available on the band's official website.

26) Wrapped Up In Books (Music Video 2003)

This video, however, is pretty good. Belle and Sebastian perform in a library - a much more natural setting for the book-ish band and the use of models randomly holding up books to the camera's eye view is a neat recycling of an idea first used on 'If You're Feeling Sinister' (where the model on the front reads a book titled after one of the songs; this time around there isn't any significance though - or did I miss something really obvious?!) This video needs a little...something else to keep it interesting, however: especially the instrumental solo in the middle which is accompanied by lots of 'hidden looks' rather than the drama taking place in the music. Available on the band's official website.

27) Funny Little Frog (Music Video 2006)

Stuart - who now seems to have taken to wearing a hat in everything he appears in  - re-arranges the furniture in his flat and rolls around on some wooden floorboards (ouch!) with an actress playing his girlfriend. The rest of the band, meanwhile, make a memorable appearance in a 'dream sequence' where they 'play-act' knocking him out (which of them wrote this bit in?!) Note that, for the second time in a row, the bulk of this video takes place in a bedroom and centres around Stuart being in bed - is this a reference to his years bed-bound with me/cfs (both videos also have Stuart at his most active, first jogging and then doing synchronised gymnastics - is this a comment on the difference between then and now? Or were beds a thing in music videos in the 2000s and I just didn't notice?!) The sheer its-so-wrong-it's-right factor of Stuart dancing his way through a video like some tone deaf boy band on an X factor audition just about lasts to the end of the video, although it would have been nice to have a typical B and S twist somewhere by the end. Available on the band's official website.

28) The Blues Are Still Blue (Music Video 2006)

Stuart and his hat are back again for a video that predictably (perhaps a bit too predictably) takes place in a launderette. If you don't know the song, it's a list of bad events culminating in the narrator getting his washing mixed up - the colours run together although 'the blues are still blue', which acts as a sort of message for his life. And yes, Stuart is dressed in blue. Someone involved with this video has clearly seen The Monkees episode 'The Monkees Get Out More Dirt' (1968) as a similar mixture of weird and surreal stunts happen throughout the video: a swimmer with snorkel appears in a washing machine, sand pours out of a machine, a man goes fishing, a bride opens her machine and puts on a wedding dress, etc. This video isn't one of the band's best, although it's very B and S (and Monkees again) the way that 'outtakes' are left in and Stuart either loses his place or gets an itch during the miming of some of his lines! Unusually, the rest of the band don't appear. Available on the official website.

29) White Collar Boy (Music Video 2006)

This is an unusual idea - the 'camera' is the 'white collar boy', drunk at a bar with Stuart on the stool next to him/you/us and singing the lines in his direction. Sadly thereafter this video goes off-track: there's already a great story in it even if it didn't make for a great song (an office worker stealing stationary made to do community service chained to an attractive rebel) which is ignored here: instead a random actress shouts at the camera. A lot. Again only Stuart appears and he isn't in it much, although in typical B and S style he gets the giggles at the end and there's a mad coda where a drunken bit-part player in the film carries on acting drunk because no one has had the heart to say 'cut'! Available on the band's official website.

30) Belle and Sebastian Write About Love (TV Special 2010)

Belle and Sebastian would probably have laughed if, in 1995, they were told that one day they'd be big enough to have their own TV show. A kind of half-hour coda to the 'For Fans Only' DVD, this is another bizarre mix of an oddly serious looking band miming to the singles from their latest album ('I Want The World To Stop' and 'I Didn't See It Coming'). This was the first time we'd seen the band for a while and they've all changed in some way: Stuart and Chris now have glasses, Richard's grown a beard, Sarah's thinner and Stevie's put on weight. Presenter Dougie Andersen chairs a question-and-answer session that's more informative than the 2001 press conference, but less fun, the highlights of which is Stuart plucking up courage to tell the boss of new record label Rough Trade that they might take a bit of break and being told 'good idea!' More B and S and yet somehow less funny is a 'spoof' bit of commercialism, with a record boss explaining to the media-shy band how to 'bombard' their audience with content! The highlight of the whole piece is the fan competition to advertise the band's title somewhere of their choosing, with some very inventive pics set to the sound of Stevie's under-rated classic B side 'Travelling Light' (our favourites are the ship in a bottle, the letters-on-a-clothes-line and the drawing of boy-and-dog that looks remarkably like Cecile Aubrey's series of books that gave B and S their name). Not yet officially available but is currently on Youtube.

31) Come On Sister (Music Video 2011)






Stuart - complete with hi-vis jacket with his surname on - clocks into work at a building site. One of the buildings he's about to demolish includes a now fully bearded Richard Colburn sitting in his pants in his flat watching 'The Wright Stuff' on channel 5 (the kindest and therefore best of all confrontational 'my aunt stole my cat and my seven lovers sold it on ebay' type shows - did Stuart choose it after Matt Wright's regular and unusually sensible debates on me and cfs?) There's lots for fans to look out for - Colburn writes his letter of protest off to 'Geddes Enterprises', Mick Cooke cameos as an ice cream seller, Sarah drives a big truck, a dazed looking Stevie runs a local butchers, Chris himself runs an opticians and Richard shreds his letters into a binbag marked 'Murdochs'! All in all one of the band's better videos, with appearance from all of them just like the old days!

32) Crash (Music Video 2012)

Finally for now (although we're hoping to extend this article when the band's award-winning 'God Help The Girl' finally comes out!) comes 'Crash', the one Belle and Sebastian song included on their second our-favourite-artists compilation 'Late Night Tales II'. An animator named Stephen Tolfrey animated the video for a song and turns Belle and Sebastian into 'box-people'! His caricatures are very spot-on (Stuart's even wears the hat he keeps being seen with since 2006 and has the same cute sticky-out ears, while Sarah is all teeth and hair, Stevie has some funky glasses, Bobby is of in his own world and the rest of the band just look plain scary!) Amazingly, no one crashes during the course of the song, despite travelling on first a hot air balloon and then a steam train!


That's all for now - be sure to join us next week for a much shorter run down of B and S unreleased songs!

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